Breaking barriers: First ever Mr and Miss Albinism SA announced

The first-ever Mr and Miss Albinism South Africa pageant was announced earlier this week with the scheduled date of the event planned for March 2021.

Created by Godfrey Mphatswe under his foundation,  the CEO said the pageant would not be just a platform to uplift but to inspire and improve the lives of those who struggle with albinism.

Speaking to The Citizen, the former model since 2003 has appeared in many fashion shows across his career changed when he entered Mr South Africa in 2016. One of the tasks was for the contestant to do something unique.

"At the time I didn't see a lot of fashion shows representing albinism models. It was necessary to break boundaries and stereotypes. It became a unique fashion show during that time as it was the only show that had albinism models on the runway."

Mphatswe said the groundbreaking fashion show was a measure to see albinism models represented on a national platform.

To the surprise of many including himself, the model and pageant judge has gone to many African countries that celebrate the beauty of albinism noticed a huge gap back home. That South Africa seen as one of the continent's leaders was not doing the same by hosting national albinism pageant.

"When I was in Kenya and Zimbabwe judging these pageants that when I saw that we needed the same in back home, that's when the passion of it started."

Albinism is demonised in some communities as some people do not accept them as human beings.

"They live normal lives, they are actors, models, lawyers etcetera however we still have people viewing them as 'aliens', them being discriminated. I just hope this platform helps changes narrative and create confidence.

"Together we stand against discrimination, stereotype and stigma against albinism."

The idea of the national pageant came alive.

"With this movement of acceptance and bringing forward a community of a diverse group of people, we are instilling diversity and opening a platform for them that will not only spark social acceptance but 'self-acceptance' which is what the people of the nation should ultimately strive for."

The contestants are represented in many provinces, Mphatswe said finding them was difficult. He said some lacked the confidence to participate and they thought they wouldn't be accepted.

The pageant contestants will stand as role models for the future aspiring models and instil lifelong confidence.

"We want them to work with the community and incorporate them to the mainstream even be mentors. They will dedicate their time to serving South Africa through charity work, youth empowerment initiatives and other incredible acts of kindness."

The contestants' skills, attitudes and behaviour will be put to the test to determine the deserving candidate.

The pageant is planned to occur on March 21 2021, Mphatswe said they were still in talks with sponsors and plans to have it broadcasted.

Click here to find out more about the contestants and how to vote for them

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